Kemka (22) is a portrait photographer based in London. His series Finding Common Ground highlights the lives of Black British people, showcasing those living in the UK following the Windrush era and exploring the migration of Africans to this country. Kemka’s work was shot at Wrest Park, which, to the artist, serves as a prime example of the imported traditions that have shaped England’s history and influenced Britain’s culture.

© Kemka Ajoku, Gestural Greetings, from the series Finding Common Ground, 2021.

Finding Common Ground highlights three different generations of Black British youth, showcasing through fashion and portraiture the lives of those living in the UK following the Windrush era.”

“This project was executed following months of research into the sociological make-up of Black settlement in the UK, with added emphasis on London, the city I was born and raised in. With the aid of literature and archival film and music, I explored issues such as housing, the job market, and the misrepresentation of our history in this country, leaving me with extensive knowledge of my people leading up to the photoshoot at Wrest Park.”

“All my models were styled in Black and Black British-owned clothing lines. Pieces were styled to show the integration of fashion from different African cultures, representing how over time they were adapted by each generation to express oneself, from post-war Britain in the 1940s through to the disco fits of the late 1970s. All in all, Finding Common Ground seeks to highlight what it means to be British in today’s society, and most importantly teach our future generations that Black British heritage is British heritage.”

© Kemka Ajoku, Couple in the Garden, from the series Finding Common Ground, 2021.

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